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GisserD

Why are there so few 5string precision bass'?

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Discuss....

 

***

Been hankering after a P 5er. I already own a squire protone 5 string with flats  which is brill for home use, but I'm after somthing to compare to my fender elite J5.

There ain't much out there!!!!!!

 

 

Edited by GisserD

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My Mike Lull PJ5 (I usually have the J switched off) definitely fits  the bill.

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I suspect the placement of the single split coil pickup isn't ideal for an articulate low B. Which is probably why you don't see many five string Ps and the ones that are out there are typically expensive, as it's taken more work to get it right.

I'd was trawling through YouTube videos to try and find a P fiver with a decent low B not long ago, and from the videos I saw Xotic and the latest Fender professional series sounded good - not played any of them in the real world though.

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There was (or is?) a green Sadowsky P for sale here. Looks good - for a P.

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The answer of course is that Leo created perfection, and no matter how hard you try, you can't get better than perfection. Why does it have four strings? Because that's all a Precision Bass needs. Need more, then you don't need a Precision, you need something else. There might be some more tangible/physical reasons also, such as that below (and having played a few 5-string Precisions - a few cheap ones and one very expensive model - I suspect there's a lot of truth in it). 

5 hours ago, Graham said:

I suspect the placement of the single split coil pickup isn't ideal for an articulate low B. Which is probably why you don't see many five string Ps and the ones that are out there are typically expensive, as it's taken more work to get it right.

The same type of question can be asked of so many instruments; why were the 90's TRB5s so much better than the four string versions of almost identical spec? I always felt there was some magic about the former, that was perhaps not the result of the number of strings per se, but a by-product of it (greater neck mass, playability?). 

 

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Having installed a P bass pickup into a Stingray 5 and can say there was a definite increased flubbiness to the low B with that pickup. I think it is probably a mix of issues - the pickup being pretty close to the neck, and the sound curve of a P pickup.

 

So now it'a PJ. For the odd note I'll often leave it as just a P, but if there's a lot of low B action going on then it's PJ. that J really tightens it up and stops the flub.

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Leo Fender's company actually got it right at the second attempt. [/pedant]

But like evolution there are some who stay put and some who evolve. Both are perfectly valid options, but where evolution is concerned, latter examples can often be better adapted to the job.

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6 hours ago, Graham said:

I suspect the placement of the single split coil pickup isn't ideal for an articulate low B. Which is probably why you don't see many five string Ps and the ones that are out there are typically expensive, as it's taken more work to get it right.....

There may be something in Graham's point here. Although, you'd have thought by now, someone would have designed a P bass type pickup that does work well with a 5 string....
Then again, maybe that's not all that easy? Perhaps, as Beedster suggests - the P pickup is perfect for a 4 string P bass, and maybe it's best to look for another solution, in the form of a different pickup?

My first 5 string bass was a Squier P, made in Indonesia. It was a really nice bass, given the very reasonable price I paid for it second-hand. It was good quality construction, and was playable, and sounded reasonably good too - excellent bass for a beginner or someone wanting to try their hand at converting from being a 4 string player

However, I did find the B string a bit "flabby" and not very distinct in tone - hence I sold it. A point to note here though, is that it was an unusual pickup arrangement in that it said "Squier Precision Bass" on the headstock - yet it had 2 Jazz pickups! I've seen this on other Squiier 5'er P basses since then too....

I'm intrigued to see what other players have done, to "pep-up" their B string now - what pickups do folks recommend? Or what other solutions are out there?

Edited by Marc S
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13 hours ago, jrixn1 said:

I have actually owned both of these basses at one time of another. The Jake had too narrow string spacing (not as described) so sent it back. although the time was great, it diddnt spend any real time with it.

The sandberg was a beautiful sounding and playing instrument, but ultimately it wasnt different enough from the jazz to warrant keeping it. it felt like it wsnt all the way P somehow.

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5 hours ago, Al Krow said:

@GisserD are you after a 'pure P' bass or happy to consider PJs as well?

yes i think im after a pure P

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7 hours ago, Graham said:

 

I'd was trawling through YouTube videos to try and find a P fiver with a decent low B not long ago, and from the videos I saw Xotic and the latest Fender professional series sounded good - not played any of them in the real world though.

xotic have been on my radar for ages. definately on my lookout list.

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aside from the obvious split design, what are the physical differences between the P and J pickup?

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48 minutes ago, Marc S said:

There may be something in Graham's point here. Although, you'd have thought by now, someone would have designed a P bass type pickup that does work well with a 5 string....
Then again, maybe that's not all that easy? Perhaps, as Beedster suggests - the P pickup is perfect for a 4 string P bass, and maybe it's best to look for another solution, in the form of a different pickup?

My first 5 string bass was a Squier P, made in Indonesia. It was a really nice bass, given the very reasonable price I paid for it second-hand. It was good quality construction, and was playable, and sounded reasonably good too - excellent bass for a beginner or someone wanting to try their hand at converting from being a 4 string player

However, I did find the B string a bit "flabby" and not very distinct in tone - hence I sold it. A point to note here though, is that it was an unusual pickup arrangement in that it said "Squier Precision Bass" on the headstock - yet it had 2 Jazz pickups! I've seen this on other Squiier 5'er P basses since then too....

I'm intrigued to see what other players have done, to "pep-up" their B string now - what pickups do folks recommend? Or what other solutions are out there?

I have a couple of these Indonesian P5s with Jazz pickups.  Someone told me at the time they were that config because no one could do a 5 string split coil pickup on the cheap at the time.  Not sure if that was true or a load of cobblers.

I have modded both of mine.  The first, I got Andy at Wizard to make me some new Jazz pickups to slot in the holes.  It took two goes, as he reckoned both the bridge and neck dimensions were the same as the thinner neck one on a 4 string Jazz!  He told me the second set he made would be weaker due to having to widen the blade to cover the extra width but they were still monster to me and better than the stock ones.

The second one, I got the body routed with a big square hole under the scratchplate and tried to fit an EMG P6 set that a BC member had taken off his Shuker made P5.  I assume Jon Shuker had used the P6 set instead of the P5 due to issues with placement as no matter how I placed them under the strings, I couldn't get the B without some some sort of fade or loss of attack.  I ended up buying a second P6 set brand new as a punt in case there was a fault (when I was once flush) and it sorted that, but now I have the same issues with the G string on the other side.  I gave up in the end as I couldn't be bothered to keep filing the custom scratchplate I had made to let me move them around.  One day I will have another look at it!

I ended up loaning my Wizard one to a mate's young son and it doesn't appear to be coming back.  I must chase that up!       

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1 hour ago, Marc S said:

However, I did find the B string a bit "flabby" and not very distinct in tone - hence I sold it...

I'm intrigued to see what other players have done, to "pep-up" their B string now - what pickups do folks recommend? Or what other solutions are out there?

I had quite a lot of sound issues with my Modulus Graphite. Pickups are bartolini humbuckers.

It was not the electronics, nor the bass. Several string sets and individual strings later I found that .125 as a B is good. It acts the same way as the rest of the set (SS 40-100). Others did not. I think I had .135, .130, and few others including coated strings, too, but no.

Remember, that string works in this particular bass. You need to do some work to find your Grail.

By the way, no dead spots... something you can not achieve with a Fender.

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If you just want a traditional P bass with just a split coil that just has a 5th string then the options are a little restricted.

i had a squier vintage modified precision v which was a great bass. It sounded like a P bass, fat and thuddy and the B string sounded the same. It lacked a little definition but it’s was a single pickup passive bass so I wasn’t expecting massive clarity from it like a Lakland or Dingwall.

The American made precision v is another option, and there is Mike Lull who I believe will make a single pickup 5 string p.

if your happy with a J pickup and active eq then you open up to loads more options. My first would be a Sire P5.

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There also appear to be a few different shapes for five string precision pickups - do you divide them 3/2 or 2/3? Does the 2 side extend to be symmetrical with the 3 side, or do they keep it shorter?

Personally I love my Dingwall Super P5 - extremely balanced all over the neck and wonderful clear tone. Fitted a Sadowsky pre and with Chromes on it I’m in tone heaven. 

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How much does the scale length come into play, does 35" vs 34" make all the difference to the B string or could quality of construction negate any advantage?

I'm interested in this debate as I have a partially built 5 string which will be 35" scale length, (I've never played or owned one before) and the only thing I have as a comparison is an Aria which is 34" and has a MM style pickup. 

This build will be getting a Nordstrand P5 pickup and I did wonder about pickup placement etc for 35" scale length? 

I also thought it might help flipping the pickup around like Yamaha and Sandberg do, so the lower string pole pieces are a fraction nearer the bridge?

Didn't Yamaha come up with an elegant compromise with one of their 5 strings, where the B was 35" and the other 4 strings were 34", how did that work out in practice? 

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39 minutes ago, rubis said:

How much does the scale length come into play, does 35" vs 34" make all the difference to the B string or could quality of construction negate any advantage?

Never been convinced that an extra 1" scale made any difference, as if so the sound of the C would be different to the sound of the B.

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The real reason is that my OCD can't stand the uneven P pickup with 2 pole-pieces in one half and 3 in the other.

So I killed the majority of them with fire.

Sorry gents. As you were....

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3 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

They will do you one without the J pickup if you want.

Very true, if you want to wait of course. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a P only 5 string Jake.

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Sandberg VM5.  The split coil pickup is the other way up so closer to the bridge on the bass side ( which is how all p pickups should be imho ) also has an H near the bridge so can do Stingray noises too, but it's easily turned off.

One of the best basses I tried on a recent 5 string hunt.

Leo fender said his best basses were the g&l ones ....so it seems he didn't think he'd got it right first time with the precision!

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